CAMPING & HIKING

Odor Proof Bags for Backpacking: A Fresh Look At Odorless Travel

food packed in ziploc bags
Jessica Bayne
Written by Jessica Bayne

Camping and outdoors adventuring takes the wanderer off the beaten track, and into the territory of wild things. This is the whole point, of course. To remove yourself from the built-up environment, and sync your body to the calmness of nature.

Calmness, however, requires that the conditions are reasonably safe and that the supplies, especially food and water, remain intact, as these are not easy to replace if you are 3 days away from civilization. Therefore, it is highly recommended to include odor proof bags for backpacking on your hiking trip.

Having a campsite haunted by nocturnal beasts seeking to rummage through edibles not only poses a threat to the level of supplies that remain but more importantly becomes a danger to the people, as these beasts are often wild animals, the most common thief being bears. Definitely not something you should invite closer.

bears attacking campsite

While it is extremely important to keep safe and vigilant, it is also important to pay close attention to the well-being of the environment you have entered. Out in the true wilderness, there may not be facilities such as dustbins to make it easy to dispose of unwanted trash.

Lugging around the trash can be an unpleasant experience, as some items may start to develop an unpleasant odor. Odor proof bags for backpacking can assist with both of these challenges and greatly improve the ability of the backpackers to keep their food safe, themselves safe, and the environment safe.

Features to consider

The common shortfalls of odor free bags tend not only to be their odor-stopping abilities, but also their tendency to burst at the seams, and their closing mechanisms to break.

Odor

A great feature to look for when choosing an odor free bag, is something made out of durable material, such as nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE), which will safely seal in the air and moisture contained in the bag, without transferring any dangerous chemicals into its contents, ensuring that the bad can be used for food storage too.

food in sealed odor free bags

Products that are marketed as odor proof but are made from polyethylene (PE) will be ineffective, as they do not prohibit air and moisture from escaping, which will not prohibit odors from escaping either.

Insulation

Good quality bags will also be water, and moisture proof, air-transference proof and also completely sealable. These traits are what will make a bag hold its odor inside. If air or water molecules are able to pass through an item, they will carry the odor with them.

Durability

They should be reusable, durable, and puncture resistant. Reusable products will ensure that you only need to purchase them once, and after each use they can be cleaned and should hold no odor relating to the contents previously held inside.

washed reusable bags

A puncture will allow for air and moisture to travel, which will mean odors are also able to travel, ensuring that your odor proof bags are durable will help to prevent punctures and tears.

Lining

There is a great variety of different odor-proof bags available, some of them even come in backpack models that are lined with aluminum. Aluminum is effective in controlling the movement of air and moisture, and these are carriers of odor. If a sealant is able to prevent air and moisture from moving, it will prevent odors from traveling.

Variety

Different shapes and types of bags or canisters and boxes will suit various uses. Some bags are similar to Ziploc freezer bags, and can be disposed of fairly easily. Some bags are more like toiletry bags, with zips, and can be washed and reused for years to come.

food in lunch bag

FDA approved

Bags made using plastic, should be made using medical grade material that is FDA approved. Often times these bags are great for storing food. To avoid a toxic or harmful substance from being shed onto the food, the FDA can examine and approve of the materials used in manufacturing the odor proof bag.

Product reviews

With all of that being said, here are a few of the top-rated products in the market.

Smelly Proof Bags

Smelly Proof Bags - 10 Pack of Small

Weight: 0.3 ounces

Dimensions:  6.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches

Specific features: Comes in sizes XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL in a 5 or 10 pack. It has one clear side and one solid side. It is made from FDA and USDA approved materials, making it safe for consumables to be stored. It locks using a double Ziploc mechanism.

Best use: In the kitchen for storage, outdoors and for the transportation of any product you wish to keep sealed.

The Smelly Proof Bags are made of plastic, and because it is in bag form, it is convenient to travel with as it can be scrunched into small spaces inside a backpack. The light weight means that the only real weight added to your luggage will be on the items contained in the bag. The seal is tight and reliable, provided the user takes the time to ensure it is properly done.

The zip seal tends to fail quite easily, and each bag seems to last for around 20 uses each, before the Ziploc mechanism no longer functions at its best. The sliding mechanism can also fall apart quite easily, perhaps because of the glue that was used. If the users treat the sliding mechanism with care, it should last a decent amount of time, though.

These are an improvement on ordinary Ziploc bags, keeping a lot of the odor contained, but they are not completely odor proof. The variety of sizes that this product is offered in makes it great to use for a variety of things, from storing wet rags to food or medical supplies, while being easy to carry and convenient to use.

Check the price on Amazon

Opsak Barrier Bags

OPSAK BARRIER BAGS 9X10 (3PK)

Weight: 0.9 pounds

Dimensions: 10.5 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches

Specific features: This product comes in a 3 pack, the manufacturer claims it is 100% odor proof, and the film is heat tolerant up to 165F. It is also waterproof to 60 meters, humidity proof, vapor proof and certified to be leak proof.

Best use: As storage for tobacco products or human waste.

The Opsak Barrier Bags is resealable, reusable and ideal for the use of storage or transportation. The product contains instructions on the bag on usage limits and means of storing or carrying to prevent damage to the Ziploc seal. It boasts a certified leakproof seal, in a see-through bag which is both reusable and can be safely recycled to benefit the environment too.

The bags are sturdy and thick, and their odor-holding abilities are great, but this seems to fade after a few uses, and smells start to appear. It is advised that the user not folds or challenge the bags in their structural integrity too much, although they are far more durable than ordinary Ziploc freezer bags, this treatment will compromise the efficacy of the lock mechanism, which will ultimately leak odors and vapor.

Check the price on Amazon

Echo Pouch Smell Proof Bags

Echo Pouch Smell Proof Bags - 15 Odor Proof Storage Bags - Small Size Containers (3 in x 4.5 in) - By Loud

Weight: 2.4 ounces.

Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.4 x 1.3 inches.

Specific features: A Ziploc sealed pouch in solid black which comes in a pack of 15 pouches. They are tear and puncture resistant, made from high-grade plastic and aluminium to ensure that odors are locked in.

Best use: Travel, storage of edibles and non-edibles.

The Echo Pouch Smell Proof Bags is washable, reusable and convenient to carry due to its light weight and flexible material. The black coloring will ensure that products that are stored inside are not damaged by UV rays. They are also available in white and clear plastics.The price on these items is around $10-$15, which is a steal considering you get 15 high-quality pouches.

This price is significantly lower than some of the competitor items on the market. The downside is that they are only available in one size, which limits the scope of what can be contained inside them. Their locking mechanism seems to work flawlessly, they are tough and can also be used in the freezer.

As mentioned with previous products, due to the nature of the materials used in its manufacture, the bag should not be bent or strained too much, especially around the top as this may cause the locking mechanism to get damaged and stop functioning well.

Check the price on Amazon

Skunk Travel Pro Smell Proof Case

Skunk Travel Pro Smell Proof 6 Case Black

Weight: 0.15 pounds

Dimensions: 2.75 x 3 x 7 inches

Specific features: Available in four different colors. Neat, and uses concentrated activated carbon technology to absorb odors. It has a smell proof zipper and Velcro top and is visually very appealing and neutral.

Best use: Any travel, hiking, backpacking and outdoors.

The Skunk Travel Pro Smell Proof Case looks like an ordinary toiletry bag, but boasts far more than meets the eye. Made from high-quality products, this bag promises to seal in odors and remain waterproof. It is a great item to include in a backpack. The manufacturer has taken care to make the zipper waterproof too, as well as reinforcing that with a Velcro lid which is also waterproof.

While the price may a bit on the steep side, it is one of those items that serves as a long-term investment and should deliver on years of quality service. The soft fabric it is made from also guarantees a certain amount of flexibility, as well as keeping it lightweight. It is easy to find a small spot in a backpack for this effective travel companion.

Related: The Skunk Lifestyle Edition is another great product for transporting goods while keeping the odors out (or in), as well as the Skunk Mr Slick Smell Proof Bag and the Skunk GoCase Smell Proof Bag.

Check the price on Amazon

Smell Proof Bags

Smell Proof Bags (15-Pack) - 4x6 Inch Unique Wide Opening

Weight: 2.4 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 4 inches

Specific features: 15 pack item prevents odors or moisture from passing through its barrier once it has been sealed. Tear-resistant and fitted with a heavy duty zipper. Black coloring ensures protection from UV rays.

Best use: Camping Hiking, Storing kitchen spices or herbs.

The Smell Proof Bags are extremely durable and seals without leaking. It is great for any items that get spoiled by UV rays, as it protects against this. The company provides fantastic customer service and genuinely wishes to please their customers. The promise of being odor-proof is delivered.

The only real downside to these bags is that they are only available in one size, and they are very small. This limits what they can be used for, but on the other hand make for very easy and convenient transport, because they are pocket-sized. Their Ziploc mechanism is powerful and effective and manages to create a good seal. The product retails at $10-$15 for a pack of 15, which is a good price especially considering the high quality.

Check the price on Amazon

Skunk Mr Slick Smell Proof Bag

Skunk Mr Slick Smell Proof Bag

Weight: 1.2 pounds

Dimensions: 6.7 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches

Specific features: Neutralizes odors, it is smell proof and uses activated carbon technology.

Best use: Outdoor sports such as hiking and camping

The Skunk Mr Slick Smell Proof Bag comes in two sizes, and 4 different colored trims: black, yellow, blue and orange.  The manufacturer promises that there are no odor leaks once the zipper is closed, and makes use of activated carbon technology. It has a double Velcro cover to further ensure that the zipper does not leak any smells.

It is also 100% weather proof, the inside is made of materials that will not retain any odors that were present, as well as an anti-tear filter net. It also has pull-tabs for easy opening. The activated carbon used for odor prevention is guaranteed to be maximum potency.

The convenient size and flexible nature of the bags make them convenient to carry and easy to squeeze into a small space in a hiking bag. The retailing price of $20-$30 may feel high, but the value is worth the expenditure, as this product should give the user years of use without a hassle.

Related: The Vatra Double Decker Smell Proof Case, the Skunk Urban Warrior Smell Proof Case and the Skunk Mr Slick Smell Proof Bags are alternative options for outdoorsmen seeking means to store items with an odor-proof feature.

Check the price on Amazon

25 Smell Proof Bags

25 Smell Proof Bags - 4x6 Inches by Interplanetary Development

Weight: 4 ounces

Dimensions: 6.4 x 4.1 x 1.5 inches

Specific features: 25 smell proof, lightweight bags. Resist tears, seals in moisture and keeps odors locked inside. Satisfaction guarantee, the manufacturer will refund the buyer if the buyer is unsatisfied in any way with the product.

Best use: Storing herbs and spices, foods, light sensitive objects or any object that needs to have its odor retained.

The Smell Proof Bags are lightweight plastic bags that are heavy duty and tear resistant. The buyer receives a pack of 25 individual bags that seal with a double Ziploc seal. The ability to seal in odors is extremely effective, and each bag can hold approximately 6 fluid ounces. The blackness ensures that items stored in the bag are protected from light.

The bags do hold a slightly chemical smell, but if left to air out, this dissipates and the bag will work just fine. The bags are a solid black color and do carry some marketing on the outside, but this does not affect its efficacy. It is also recommended to order a size larger than you would expect to need, this will better accommodate items and place less strain on the locking mechanism, which will deteriorate after time.

The bags are discreet, easy to pack, light to carry and durable.

Check the price on Amazon

BaseCamp Odor Barrier Bag

Base CampSource Odor-Barrier Bag

Weight: 8.2 ounces

Dimensions:  6 x 1 x 11.2

Specific features: Odor control, biodegradable, free of harsh chemicals, made using FDA-approved plastics. K-9 tested.

Best use: Dirty Clothing, human waste, garbage, food and toiletries.

The BaseCamp Odor Barrier Bag promises complete odor lock-in, using the patent pending odor barrier technology. This product can be used to store anything, including food, as it is human and earth friendly. It can be discarded too, as it will naturally biodegrade.

It is extremely effective in protecting edibles from mice and possums, which will, of course, mean your campsite is also protected from bears and larger, more dangerous animals too. Unlike many of its competitors, this product was actually K-9 and bear tested!

The unfortunate element to these bags is that they only hold about as much as an ordinary grocery store packet would. They also come with special clips, which are easy to lose. It should be noted that hands need to be thoroughly cleaned before the outside of the bag are handled, to prevent the odor sticking to the outside of the bag.

Expect to pay $10-$15 for the bag. While it is reusable (or disposable), it is quite a steep price for one bag, but considering how much technology went into its creation and its subsequent success, it is a fair price.

Check the price on Amazon

Conclusion

All of these products promise a similar outcome; the ability to store items without their odor escaping the bag. Some of these products deliver on this promise better than others, and there are various ways in which this can be achieved. Some of the bags are cheaper and lighter, which makes them great to use a few times and then replace, while others are very pricey, but should last you at least a few years.

differently packed food

Even if all of your food items are safely stored and sealed in an odor proof bag, it is still highly recommended to keep this bag out of the reach of bears at night. It is recommended not to test these bags on an outdoors excursion for the first time, but rather to make sure that the quality is adequate for the purpose you bought it.

Which bags are you most likely to try, if you have never used one of these odor free backpacking bags? And if you have tried one or two, which bags have you found to be most effective at keeping odors locked away? Let us know how you faired out in the field with odor proof bags.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Bayne
Jessica Bayne

Jessica believes that the only things you need to explore the world are a good backpack and a bit of courage to make the first steps. She also loves the beauty of a sunset seen from the mountaintop and the delicious flavor of a meal prepped over the camping fire. Ready to start a new adventure at any given time, Jessica knows how to be prepared for any situation and understands how important is to find the right gear. She also knows a lot about the type of gear to have and how to choose the products you actually need.

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